It was learned before Nov. 19 that the U.S. Marines Corps is conducting low-altitude flying training over Amami Oshima. The finding came to light through an accident probe report and auxiliary documents that the U.S. forces released to examine the crash-landing of an MV-22 Osprey aircraft, which is deployed at Futenma air station, off the coast of Nago last December. This low-altitude flying route is not mentioned in an “environment impact assessment review” that the U.S. military compiles in relation to the deployment of the Osprey to Futenma, but there is a possibility of the U.S. conducting such training on a regular basis. The analysis was done by Wataro Rai, chief editor at citizens’ group Rimpeace.
The accident probe report says that “[the Osprey] was flying at 500 feet (about 152 meters) altitude at a speed of 240 knots (444 kilometer per hour) over Amami.” This clearly shows that the training was conducted over Amami, but the details of the route were not included.
Rai analyzed the document that recorded the nose directions, flight distances and altitudes of the two Ospreys, including the aircraft that crash landed, in each flight zone. He connected the points that the aircraft passed after departing Futenma and found a low-altitude flight route was set over Amami.
The Okinawa Times asked the Marines in Okinawa about this matter on Oct. 26, but no response was made by Nov. 19. (Abridged)